Around Latin America

-Chile has requested the extradition of an ex-officer from the US Army for his role in human rights violations and murder. Raymond E. Davis is wanted for his role in the murder of two American citizens, including Charles Horman, in Chile in the days following the September 11 military coup in 1973. Horman’s story was made famous in the remarkable 1982 film Missing, in which Jack Lemmon portrays Horman’s father trying to find out what happened to his son.

-The University of Texas has made available millions of documents related to torture, murder, and “disappearances” of victims of the Guatemalan military between the 1960s and 1996. The documents shed even more light on the depth of horror and systematic practice of human rights violations in the Central American country, and are a boon for human rights activists and historians alike.

-Officials in Uruguay have unearthed the remains of another victim of the military dictatorship of 1975-1983. The body of Julio Castro, a teacher who was taken to a detention center in 1977 and never seen again, was uncovered on a military installation. While the discovery does not shed any new light on the human rights abuses of the military regime in Uruguay, it does give Castro’s family and friends the opportunity to have some closure over the fate of their loved one.

-The lower house in Chile’s Congress passed a governmental education budget that had met the opposition of the center-left and, more visibly, students. The vote, which easily passed the Senate when the opposition abstained, passed the house by a 3-vote margin. Meanwhile, Chilean students vowed to continue protests and marches, demanding free tuition, a greater state presence in education (rather than private initiative), and reforms ot the educational system.

-Argentina has recognized the rights of transsexual members of the police and armed forces to self-identify by recognizing their adopted identities that individuals in the transsexual community have adopted.

-The 2010 election of Dilma Rousseff in Brazil is showing real returns for women in politics, as a record number of women candidates are running for office in Minas Gerais, one of Brazil’s largest and more powerful states.

-The head of Mexico’s PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party), Humberto Moreira, has stepped down after a financial scandal that witnessed the disappearance of public money during his term as governor of the state of Coahuila. While there is no direct connection between Moreira’s actions as governor and the candidacy of PRI presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto, the accusations do undermine the PRI’s claims that it has reformed. The PRI, which governed Mexico from 1929-2000, became increasingly associated with corruption and politicians enriching themselves while serving in office from the 1950s onward.

-I’ve talked about violence against women in Central America many times before. Mike has an excellent video up on gender-based violence in Guatemala that is well worth checking out.

-The “Occupy” movement arrived to El Salvador, as protesters gathered outside the U.S. Embassy to demonstrate against free-trade policies and business models that continue to work against the majority of the population not only in the U.S., but throughout the world.

-Mexican activist Norma Andrade was shot and wounded this week in what police are initially claiming was a robbery attempt. Andrade is known for her role in speaking out against the murders of women in Ciudad Juárez, many of which have gone uninvestigated even as the numbers officially exceed 400, although unofficial estimates place the numbers in the thousands. While Andrade may have been wounded in a simple robbery, the fact that another anti-violence activist, Nepomuceno Moreno, who spoke out against his son’s murder, was also murdered this past week, suggests at least the possibility of a more politically-motivated attack on Andrade.

-Some U.S. officials are considering the possibility of withdrawing support for Nicaragua in the wake of questionable elections in November that witnessed the election of Daniel Ortega to a third term as president (and second consecutive term).

About Colin M. Snider

I have a Ph.D. in history, specializing in Latin American History and Comparative Indigenous History. My dissertation focused on Brazil. Beyond Latin America generally, I'm particularly interested in class identities, military politics, human rights, labor, education, music, and nation. I can be found on Twitter at @ColinMSnider.
This entry was posted in Argentina, Around Latin America, Augusto Pinochet, Brazil, Chile, Corruption, Educational Reforms, El Salvador, Elections in Latin America, Guatemala, Guatemala's Civil War, Human Rights Issues, Human Rights Violations, LGBT Rights & Issues, Mexico, Nicaragua, Student Movements, Uruguay, Uruguay's Military Dictatorship (1973-1985), Women's Movements & Issues, Women's Rights. Bookmark the permalink.